It is the 31st October, and Yes, Halloween!!! I wonder how many of you have the drip…drip…drip of icy dread running down your spine at the moment. Are your dreams uneasy and fitful? How many of you are beginning to wonder about that date: 22/12/2012, the Mayan Armageddon? The World seems full of portents and omens: earthquakes and storms, drought and famine, rape, murder, war, pestilence. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, from the last book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, ride. The story goes that there is a book or scroll in God‘s right hand which has seven seals. The coming of the Lamb of God or Jesus, results in the opening of the first four of the seven seals. This summons forth four beings known as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses: Revelation chapter 6, verses 1-8. The four horsemen are symbolic descriptions of different events which will take place in the end times. Conquest: “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.” War: “Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.” Famine: “…and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘a quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’” and Death: “I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” The Four Horsemen bring divine apocalypse upon the world and are harbingers of the Last Judgment. Pretty nightmarish stuff, am I right?
As I write this the east coast of the United States has been pummelled by the innocuously named Sandy; New York, the mega-city, has been under attack from a Godzilla-storm named after Danny Zuko’s squeeze in Grease. The Big Apple’s transport systems, most importantly, the subway system, are paralyzed. The storm closed roads and bridges, and flooded tunnels, garages and rail yards, dousing the nation’s largest mass transit system with saltwater (which is corrosive to its electrical system). The subway system is 108 years old and has never faced disaster on this scale before, with water literally up to the ceiling at downtown Manhattan’s South Ferry train station. The subway could be out of service for four or five days as the authorities check the entire system for saltwater damage. The city counts an average of 5.3 million riders each weekday. The system, which runs around the clock, comprises 21 subway routes linked by 468 stations, and stretches across 660 miles of track….and it will be not be operating for five days!!
On Tuesday, as New Yorkers coped with their first post-Sandy night without power, the dividing line between north and south in the city was 25th Street. South of 25th is where the streetlights on the West Side are not working and the buildings are completely and eerily dark, and there is no answer as to when the lights will come back on. That is where the storm will still being most deeply felt: imagine a city the size of New York without power!!! It must be like being in one of those zombie movies!!! Imagine being in the local bars, packed with people drinking in candle or fire light, or going onto the streets where people, reeking of fear, scramble to find spare candles or bags of ice. However, what people would really be desperate for would be information. Few people would actually realize that the blackout could last for days nor would they realize how the mood of people could change.
To quote some New Yorkers from various newspapers:
“It is amazing how peaceful and quiet the city can get,” Ms. Sauer. “Really, it is wild to see the city just turn off.”
Mr. Labarbera agreed.
“I am really not scared,” he said. “But in the back of my mind I know something bad could happen.”
Susan Lietz, who lives on Horatio Street, said she felt better walking outside with her two dogs, Buster and Teddy.
For one night the darkness is tolerable.
“It seems really pretty serene, if a little creepy,” she said.
Just as she spoke, someone set off fireworks nearby. But she just smiled.
“The 9/11 blackout was messed up,” she said. This one, she said, not so much.
But it should be remembered that Hurricane Sandy, carnivorous and savage, claimed approximately 40 lives (so far) in 8 States as it hit the East Coast on Monday. Much like Death in the Final Destination movies, it used an assortment of lethal methods to despatch them: mostly trees. In Franklin Township, Pa., an 8-year-old boy was crushed by a tree when he ran outside to check on his family’s calves. A 24 year old woman and a 23 year old man were crushed by a tree, doing what dog owners do, walking their dog. This was on Monday evening, their bodies were only discovered the following day (the dog survived and has been taken in by neighbours).
For nearly a decade, scientists have told city and state officials that New York faces certain peril: rising sea levels, more frequent flooding and extreme weather patterns. Remember that movie: The Day After Tomorrow?
“The construction of this city did not anticipate these kinds of situations. We are only a few feet above sea level,” Governor Cuomo said during a radio interview. “As soon as you breach the sides of Manhattan, you now have a whole infrastructure under the city that fills — the subway system, the foundations for buildings,” as well as the World Trade Centre site it appears.
“Look, the city is extremely vulnerable to damaging storm surges just for its geography, and climate change is increasing that risk,” said Ben Strauss, director of the sea level rise program at the research group Climate Central in Princeton, N.J. “Three of the top 10 highest floods at the Battery since 1900 happened in the last two and a half years. If that’s not a wake-up call to take this seriously, I don’t know what is.”
Over here in South Africa, at Sheffield Beach (also on the east coast), we were struck by a sympathy storm on Monday night. It was nowhere near as malevolent as Sandy but we are still without power so happy Halloween indeed! It is a setting for all kinds of nasty creepiness!! The night of the storms (29th) I was plagued by nightmares, most notably of my ex, the LA Woman. That date obviously set off some sort of unease and angst within me. This is most probably because I was meant to return from Los Angeles on that day in order for me to be able to write my art theory exam (7th November) and set up for my exhibition at the artSPACE Gallery (20th November). I was then to return to her on 25th November. If you have been following my story in my posts you will be aware of why this did not happen. In the dream she screamed abuse at me as I was dragged to an airplane: talk about horror!